MU Wins Season Opener

1 decade 3 weeks 2 days ago September 02, 2006 Sep 2, 2006 Saturday, September 02 2006 Saturday, September 02, 2006 10:33:41 PM CDT in Sports

Daniel threw scoring passes on the Tigers' first three possessions. He added another in the second quarter and broke the record in the fourth in a game in which Missouri outgained Murray State 589-150.

"We saw glimpses of a guy that has lots of ability and is a good leader as well as an accurate thrower," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said of Daniel. "He also has a lot of good players around him."

Daniel was unaware he broke the record -- he thought he tied it -- and said little about it. "It was good to get a win," he said.  It was a less than stellar debut for new Racers coach Matt Griffin. Murray State didn't have a first down until midway through the second quarter and trailed 35-0 at halftime.

"They came out a lot faster than us," Griffin said. "They were ready. I'm not sure we were."

Brad Smith is Missouri's all-time leader in rushing and passing and owned or shared 69 school, Big 12 and NCAA records. Daniel erased one of them already -- Smith was among six quarterbacks who previously threw four touchdown passes in a game, doing so in last season's 44-17 opening-game win over Arkansas State.

The Tigers needed just six plays to take control against Murray State, a Division I-AA team that was 2-9 last season and 0-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Daniel's quick toss to Will Franklin became a 60-yard scoring pass when Franklin spun past the cornerback and ran untouched into the end zone. Daniel connected with Brad Ekwerekwu on an 8-yard touchdown pass and with Chase Coffman on a 3-yard score later in the first quarter  as the Tigers drove effortlessly against Murray State. In the second quarter, Marcus Woods scored on a 2-yard run and Daniel and Franklin connected again, this time on a 34-yard scoring pass in the final minute of the half.  The record-breaking touchdown pass came with 10:53 to play when Daniel hit a wide-open Jared Perry down the left sideline, putting Missouri ahead 47-0.

The Tigers also scored on a safety in the third quarter when Sean Weatherspoon blocked a punt out of the end zone, and on a 38-yard third-quarter field goal by Jeff Wolfert. Nine different Missouri receivers made catches, led by Coffman's seven for 64 yards and Franklin's four for 138 yards. Missouri also gained 256 yards rushing, led by Tony Temple, who gained 119 yards on 15 carries. Woods had 53 yards on five carries and Brandon Coleman's lone run, on the final series of the game, was for 62 yards.

Missouri's defense played well, too, limiting Murray State to 27 net rushing yards on 25 attempts and 123 combined passing yards. Murray State starting quarterback Ryne Salyer was 8-of-13 for 39 yards with a lost fumble and an interception. Backup Zac Barnard was 12-of-17 for 84 yards and a touchdown. The Racers' leading rusher, Chad Cook, gained 12 yards on 31 carries.

Murray State spoiled the shutout in the final minutes of the game on a 13-yard TD pass from Barnard to Nate Moore. The 72-yard drive amounted to nearly half of the Racers' total yardage for the game.

Pinkel, who is now 30-30 at Mizzou, said the Tigers, trying to improve on a 7-5 mark and a 4-4 Big 12 record in 2005, won't enjoy the victory for long. "Don't blow it out of proportion, enjoy the victory, and let's get better," he said.

 

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